What's My Line?

Season 11 Episode 21


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Jan 24, 1960 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
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Episode Summary

Game 1: Miss/Dr. Evelyn I. Franke (she signed her surname as Franké, and John pronounced it as "Frankie") - "Chiropractor" (self-employed; from West Babylon, Long Island, NY)

Game 2: John E. Lingo, Jr. - "Sells Flagpoles" (salaried; he works for his family corporation, John E. Lingo & Sons, Inc. which sells steel flagpoles; from Delaware Township, NJ)

Game 3: Jack Paar (5/1/1917 - 1/27/2004) (as Mystery Guest) He uses a bullhorn to answer the panel.

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  • Jack Paar's mystery guest round is highly entertaining. William Bendix is a better-than-average guest panelist.

    This episode gets off to a slow start, but ends with a bang. Character actor William Bendix (1906-1964), who starred in "Life of Riley" on TV, isn't especially funny tonight. But he is pleasant and likeable and plays the game well.

    The first two rounds are fairly routine except for a bright moment here and there. One is when John reacts with mock indignation to Bennett's good-natured insult to his manly physique. Another is when Arlene gets a weenie and cries "Oh!" just after the questioning passes from her to Bendix, who has the presence of mind to call for a conference. Arlene livens the proceedings again when she slyly tries to change the phrasing of her question to coax a "yes" answer from the flagpole maker. But John, a stern enforcer of the rules, doesn't let her get away with it.

    The highlight of this episode is the appearance of Jack Paar (1918-2004) as mystery guest. It's easy to see why he was so popular as Steve Allen's successor on "The Tonight Show." What a delightful man! He comes out carrying a bullhorn, which he uses to disguise his voice. The device makes him sound like Mickey Mouse. His droll facial expressions during the questioning are priceless. Too bad the panel can't see them.

    At one point during the post-game chat, Paar mimes the stage manager's hand signal that means "wrap" and says that he'll leave now because he can see that the show is running long. John doesn't react to this statement but instead continues the conversation (while Dorothy, who disliked Paar, pointedly remains silent). When Paar exits after shaking the panel's hands, he goofs and goes through the entrance curtain.

    After the break, Paar pops back out of the curtain again. He is now wearing an overcoat and muffler. (It's January in New York City). He apologizes for having misinterpreted the stage manager's signal -- the show is actually running short, and they have extra time to fill! John, who seems glad to see Paar again, has him sit down for some more chat, and the show ends on this happy note.

    Technically speaking, this kinescope is seriously flawed. There's noticeable scratching noise throughout the soundtrack, and the video isn't as sharp as usual.moreless
John Daly

John Daly

Moderator (1950-1967)

Arlene Francis

Arlene Francis

Regular Panelist (1950-1967)

Bennett Cerf

Bennett Cerf

Regular Panelist (1951-1967)

Dorothy Kilgallen

Dorothy Kilgallen

Regular Panelist (1950-1965)

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (4)

    • FLIP REPORT: Tonight, John did not increase any dollar amounts won by flipping cards for any of the contestants. - agent_0042 (2009)

    • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR, ANNOUNCER AND PANEL WATCH: Kellogg's was tonight's main sponsor, and the "award-winning panel of 'What's My Line?'" variant wording was once again used by announcer Hal Simms prior to his introduction of fellow Boston native Arlene. (Incidentally, Mr. Simms' intro for Miss Francis began this evening with "Now, the delightful star..." rather than the usual "First, the delightful star...") And this was William Bendix's fifth and final "WML?" appearance.
      (2) INTRODUCTION NOTES - OR, "ALL OUR TRIALS": In her introduction of William Bendix, Arlene mentioned his upcoming series "The Overland Trail," but initially called it "Overland Trials" and attributed this "mistake" to a mixup over Dorothy's coverage of the Finch trial. "The Overland Trail" debuted on NBC (which, per the custom of the time, Arlene referred to as "another network") on February 7, 1960 (the same day as "WML?'s" tenth anniversary EPISODE #500) and ran until September 11, 1960. Bennett then picked up on Arlene's "mistake" by introducing John as "our own Overland Trial."
      (3) JACK PAAR - PART I: The late-night talk show host's appearance on "WML?" tonight came nearly a month before his highly-publicized walkout from "The Tonight Show" on February 11, 1960, in protest over NBC's censorship of a joke he told which involved a "W.C." (where a water closet -- a British euphemism for a toilet -- was being confused with a wayside chapel). At the point of his abrupt departure, he said, "I am leaving 'The Tonight Show.' There must be a better way of making a living than this." His announcer, Hugh Downs, finished the program that evening, and for the next month, guest hosts filled in. Mr. Paar returned on March 7, 1960, with the words, "As I was saying before I was interrupted...", and after the uproarious audience applause, noted, "When I walked off, I said there must be a better way of making a living. Well, I've looked...and there isn't." Jack remained with "The Tonight Show" for the next two years until he left for good on March 29, 1962. He then hosted a weekly prime-time show, "The Jack Paar Program," from September 21, 1962 to September 10, 1965. This "WML?" appearance would be Mr. Paar's last.
      (4) JACK PAAR - PART II: The period between Mr. Paar's 1962 departure from "The Tonight Show" and the arrival of Johnny Carson in October 1962 (the delay in the transition was attributable to Mr. Carson's still being under contract to "Who Do You Trust?" producer Don Fedderson in that stretch) saw a succession of guest hosts keeping the seat warm. "WML?'s" own "grande dame," Arlene Francis, was among the parade of guest hosts; another was funnyman Jerry Lewis. In fact, it was Mr. Lewis' turn as "Tonight Show" guest host that set the wheels in motion for the development of his own talk show, "The Jerry Lewis Show," which ran on ABC from September 21, 1963 to December 21, 1963. This series was later named one of "The Worst TV Shows Ever" in the 1980 book of the same name; the aforementioned book referred to the program as "the most monumental flop in the history of the medium." The theatre where this incarnation of "The Jerry Lewis Show" was based was subsequently appropriated for the 1964-1970 variety series "The Hollywood Palace." (Ironically, Mr. Lewis' erstwhile comedy partner, Dean Martin, was one of the recurring hosts of "The Hollywood Palace" before his own show premiered in 1965.)
      (5) JACK PAAR - PART III: During the mystery guest questioning, Dorothy asked Mr. Paar if he made any records, to which the acerbic talker answered "Yes" in the end. Indeed, one of Jack's recordings was a single he made with Jack Haskell, "I-M-4-U (I Am for You)," on Columbia single #(4-)40628 in 1956. His predecessor and successor as "Tonight Show" host -- Steve Allen and Johnny Carson, respectively -- also, at one time or another, had recorded for Columbia; Mr. Allen recorded a 10" album of piano music in 1951, and Mr. Carson put out an LP for the label as a tie-in to the 1964 World's Fair.
      (6) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: With the practice of mentioning airline travel arrangements having ended, theoretically there was more time for the end credits, but on this occasion they only went up to set designer Willard Levitas' art card. Even with this change in end credits procedure, there was no change whatsoever to GSN's nauseating and sickening "credits crunch," if the cable and satellite channel's March 22, 2009 airing of this episode was of any indication.
      (7) Following the March 22, 2009 airing of tonight's show, GSN ran the December 3, 1959 edition of "To Tell the Truth," hosted by Bud Collyer, with the panel of Polly Bergen, Don Ameche, Kitty Carlisle and Tom Poston. The first game featured world-famous portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh (whose works were shown in major museums, and formed the basis for a 1959 book, "Portraits of Greatness"; among those who posed for Mr. Karsh's camera were Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Pope Pius XII, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, and George Bernard Shaw) and two impostors; the second game featured Janey Hart (an airplane and helicopter pilot who was among the "Mercury 13" group of women selected for NASA's "Project Mercury" as part of their short-lived "Women in Space" program; she was married to U.S. Senator Philip A. Hart, D-Michigan, and the fact that they have eight children was mentioned) and two impostors (as a side note, another of the "Mercury 13," Jan Dietrich, had appeared as a contestant on "WML?" EPISODE #453 of February 22, 1959, and subsequently appeared alongside two impostors in the third game of the April 1, 1963 edition of "TTTT," the panel of which consisted of Tom Poston, Peggy Cass, Merv Griffin and Phyllis Newman); and the third game featured Jerry Daggett (approximate spelling; a 'Pee-Wee' football player who had rescued a volunteer fireman who was drowning in 30 feet of icy water; he received an Act of Heroism award from the City of New York) and two impostors. - W-B (2009)

    • WELCOME HOME ARLENE AND WELCOME BACK PANEL!!! After a one week hiatus due to WML's preemption, the panel came back strong. Also returning to the show was Arlene, who had been in Florida performing in a play. She definitely picked a nice night for a return, as the panel achieved something they hadn't done in a while, they had a perfect night. In fact, Arlene played a huge role in the first game as she picked the opportune time to have a conference and suggested to guest panelist William Bendix that he ask if the contestant was a chiropractor. Arlene's weenie proved to be correct and Bill got the correct guess, even though the credit should go to Arlene. In the second game, Bill correctly guessed that the contestant was a salesman, but it was Bennett who made the last-second save and correctly figured out that the guest sold flagpoles. In fact, John credited the whole panel for the guess, because they worked as a team in arriving at the correct identification. In the mystery guest round, Arlene correctly guessed that the evening's guest was her good friend, Jack Paar. Jack did a pretty good job using his trusty megaphone to try to fool the panel. However, Bennett opened the door for Arlene, who figured out that it was Jack Paar. Jack was on the show to promote his upcoming prime time special as well as his "Tonight Show" nightly chat fest. Also, just prior to the good nights, Jack came back on stage and clowned around with John. This definitely helped the panel really have a good celebration of their perfecto. - Sargebri (2005)

      KILGALLEN AND PAAR: During the post match conversation with Jack, it was obvious that it was Bennett, Arlene and John who carried on most of the conversations with Jack. Noticeably silent was Dorothy. Of course, this was at the height of her feud with the "Tonight Show" host. The feud pretty much started due to the fact that Jack was a huge supporter of the new Cuban Premier, Fidel Castro. This was definitely the opposite of how Dolly Mae, an avowed anti-Communist, felt. Their differences of opinion on this matter helped spark a feud that was just as vicious as the feud between Dorothy and Frank Sinatra. Sadly, many of Paar's monologues featured a lot of insults directed at Dolly Mae. - Sargebri (2005)

      FEMALE HOSTS: As John mentioned, Arlene Francis was a frequent guest host of the "Tonight Show" whenever Jack Paar had a night off. However, Arlene wasn't the only woman to assume the guest hosting duties. Several years later, when frequent WML guest panelist Johnny Carson took a night off, future WML semi-regular guest panelist Phyllis Newman became the first woman to fill in for Johnny. However, the most famous, or infamous, woman to take Johnny's seat was Joan Rivers. Rivers was so good at the job that Johnny named her permanent guest host and she was seen by many as the odds on favorite to replace Carson when he finally decided to retire. However, Johnny shocked everyone when he decided to name both Gary Shandling, and the man who would eventually replace Carson, Jay Leno, as permanent guest hosts. This infuriated Rivers who was then offered her own show by the fledgling Fox Network. Unfortunately, Rivers lasted only 13 weeks before she was replaced by a young up-and-coming comic by the name of Arsenio Hall. After the Fox show was cancelled, Hall was offered his own late night talk show which lasted four years, from 1989 to 1993. As for Rivers, as of 2005, she and her daughter Melissa now work as red carpet interviewers for the E! Entertainment cable network. - Sargebri (2005)

      TONIGHT SHOW HOSTS ON WML: Jack Paar wasn't the only "Tonight Show" show host to appear on WML. Of course, Paar's predecessor, Steve Allen, was a regular panelist on WML for one year. After Steve left WML, he would "come home" from time to time to sit in on the panel as a guest panelist. Paar also sat in on the panel on a couple of occasions as well. Also, Paar's successor, Johnny Carson, who would become crowned the "King of Late Night," also sat in on the panel from time to time. However, Carson only made one appearance as a mystery guest, on EPISODE #601 of February 11, 1962, as opposed to Steve and Jack, who made several mystery guest appearances each. - Sargebri (2005) with additional info by W-B (2008)

    • On Dorothy Kilgallen: Excerpts from Lee Israel's 1979 book, "Kilgallen":

      ********** begin quote **********

      She acquainted herself with Eddie Bright, a Runyonesque savant who ran a newspaper stand outside the courthouse.
      She was flying to New York every weekend to appear on "What's My Line?" At the close of one show, in response to John Daly's traditional, "Good night, Miss Dorothy," [which is wrong - since he didn't say "good night" directly to her this evening...] she replied, "Good night, John. And good night to Eddie Bright and to all the rest of the gang at the new courthouse. See you tomorrow."
      Bright was flabbergasted. "I almost fell outta bed," he said. "Imagine such an important dame saying good night to me."

      Lee Israel's words about Jack Paar:

      There had been some snide little items about her in the columns, an occasional short profile in the magazines, and frequent strafing from television performers. Jack Paar led the pack in 1960, taking up Sinatra's slack. That tempestuous round began when Dorothy swiped at him in the column over his impassioned support of Fidel Castro. She was violently opposed to the new Cuban leader and peppered her column with anti-Castro items, many of which appear to have been fed to her by Miami-based exiles or CIA fronts on an almost daily basis. Paar retaliated on his prime-time high-rated television show. At one point, after one of his famous you-won't-have-Jack-Paar-to-kick-around walkouts, he returned to the show and opened with a monologue about press abuse. Winchell he called "a silly old man;" Harriet Van Horne was, inexplicably, "Novocain lipstick." He saved his best stuff for Dolly Mae [Dorothy's nickname]. Referring to the Khrushchev affair and mixing her excess up with that of Ruth Montgomery, he chided Dorothy for her "poor taste" in "calling attention to the thickness of Mrs. Khrushchev's ankles," adding, "I've always kept my guests from making remarks about your appearance - that you have no chin."*

      ********** end quote **********

      *Paar quoted in Newsweek, March 21, 1960

      - Suzanne (2005)

      This kinescope suffers from a poor or damaged audio track. - Suzanne (2005)

      Panel: Arlene Francis, William Bendix, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf.